Discussion Questions

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1. Explain the emergence and reasons for longevity of the Byzantine Empire. The Byzantine Empire emerged because of its’ favorable geographic location. It was located on a defensible peninsula which had a natural harbor called the Golden Horn, which provided trading ships to enter easily. It also controlled the prosperous Mediterranean lands, which led to zones of trade, communication, and interaction – especially with Slavic, Arab, European, and Asian peoples and traditions. Its’ location provided it with land and sea routes allowing the Byzantium people to travel easily to Asia, Europe, and Africa. The Byzantine Empire was sustained for almost one thousand years because of its development of Caesaropapism and a complex government bureaucracy. Caesaropapism was created by Constantine which was a system of ruling where the emperor had absolute secular power as well as managing ecclesiastical affairs. The empire produced a large surplus of grain and had a class of free peasants who participated in the army and in turn got land to keep the agricultural economy strong. Craftsmen from this area were known for producing glassware, textiles, gems, jewelry, fine gold, and silver metalwork, and eventually silk, which brought economic success to the Byzantine Empire. Emperors of the Byzantine Empire treated the churches as part of their government. They elected the patriarch of Constantinople, and taught officials to teach their disciples of imperial authority and people’s obedience, as well as following God’s requests. The theme system was also implemented into the governing of the Byzantine emperors. 2. Discuss the developments and shifts in trade, technology, and cultural exchange during the years of the Byzantine Empire. The Byzantine Empire developed Caesaropapism and a strong government bureaucracy. Caesaropapism was a system of ruling where the emperor had absolute secular power as well as managing ecclesiastical affairs. Justinian and his wife developed a code...
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